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Place: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
Even though No. 8 USC will be aiming for its sixth straight win against Arizona when it travels to Tucson for a Pac-12 Conference game Saturday, the margin of each victory has been seven points or less.
The Trojans will be attempting to win five straight games overall for the first time since 2008. Arizona’s 114th-ranked defense will be up against one of the most prolific passing attacks in the country.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley took over the conference’s all-time career mark for touchdown passes last week, and receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are No. 1 and 2 in the Pac-12 in touchdown receptions this season.
USC Trojans (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12): Somewhat overshadowed by the lofty numbers put up by the offense is the sterling play of the USC defense. The Trojans are ranked second in the nation in forced turnovers (22) and fifth in sacks (27). The group averages 3.86 sacks a game, which ranks third in the country.
Dion Bailey, a 210-pound sophomore linebacker for the Trojans, has a team-high four interceptions. USC will face its toughest challenge of the season against Arizona, however. The Wildcats average 548.7 yards per game, fifth-most in the nation.
Arizona Wildcats (4-3, 1-3): Among the weapons on the offensive side of the ball is sophomore running back Ka’Deem Carey, who is second in the Pac-12 with 11 rushing touchdowns and fourth in rushing yards (842).
He had 29 carries for a career-high 172 yards last weekend in an impressive 52-17 victory against visiting Washington. At some point this fall, he’ll likely become the 10th ball carrier for the Wildcats to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and is on pace to produce one of the school’s top three highest rushing totals.
1. USC freshman defensive end Leonard Williams was ejected from Saturday’s game against Colorado because he threw a punch, but Pac-12 officials opted not to suspend him for the Arizona game. Williams has 5 1/2 sacks this season.
2. Barkley threw for a school-record 468 yards in last year’s 48-41 victory against Arizona, and Woods caught 14 passes for a career-high 255 yards and two touchdowns.
3. Arizona will play a home game that starts before 7 p.m. PT for the first time this season